Sweltering heat to make voters sweat in poll-bound Bengal
The hot and uncomfortable weather in the city and south Bengal districts including Purulia, Bankura, Birbhum, Burdwan and West Midnapore, coupled with the heat wave that residents have been experiencing for the past 48 hours, is expected to last for the next three days, the meteorological department predicted.
The maximum temperature in the city on Thurday was 40° Celsius, 4° above normal and it may go up in the next few days.
The late night drizzle on Thursday in Kolkata and some parts of the south Bengal districts were of no help. The maximum temperature recorded in Bankura was 45° Celsius, where elections in nine Assembly constituencies are scheduled to take place on April 11.
Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar went to Park Circus on Thursday and met on-duty traffic sergeants, constables, home guards and civic police volunteers.
He distributed sun-glasses, umbrellas and ORS among them. Kumar later said that it is difficult to continue working for eight long hours when the temperature has touched almost 40° Celsius.
“Thus the decision has been taken to reduce their working hours by 2 hours. They will be working for 6 hours instead of 8 till when such temperature continues,” Kumar said.
Braving the scorching heat, the traffic police did their bit to keep traffic movement normal in the city, where the road space is only 6 per cent of the total area. In very rare cases, constables were found taking shelter under the shade of roadside trees.
Besides traffic police, the weather has spelt misery for door-to-door salesmen, postmen and others with outdoor jobs. Monoranjan Mallick, a private firm employee, said: “It was difficult to keep my eyes open while walking across the wide intersection of Esplanade due to the heat wave.”
Sales of road side food stalls have dipped significantly. Following the advice of doctors, people are steering clear of street food. The sale of soft drinks, sunglasses, caps and umbrellas has gone up considerably.
The oppressive heat will make life miserable for election workers and voters in constituencies where polls are scheduled on April 11. There will be elections in 31 Assembly constituencies in Bankura, Burdwan and West Midnapore districts.
Voters in these districts will have a harrowing time as, according to the forecast, weather condition in these districts would remain the same on the day of the election.
Doctors have advised voters to cast their votes as early as possible. Leaders of all political parties have also urged voters to exercise their power before the temperature goes up.
Political leaders are also taking precautionary measures to avoid falling ill during their campaign trail.
Hence, most election rallies are now scheduled either in morning or 4 pm onwards.